Year In Review: 2016 was another year of progress

The new Downtown Visitor Center opened in Salisbury in August.

Following is a compilation of stories the Salisbury Independent reported on in 2016:

Poultry houses battle

The Year 2016 could be forever known as The Year Of The Chicken House.

Much to their chagrin, Wicomico County officials spent a lot of their year responding to a proposal to build a larger-than-usual poultry farm — 10 houses — on North West Road.

That project first stirred controversy late in 2015,  when Zulfiqar Ahmed and his family wanted to put the biggest poultry farm in the county near the intersection of Naylor Mill and North West roads. It would have had 13, 60-foot-by-600 foot chicken houses on 63 acres.

Following an uproar of objections, the family agreed to redesign the plan, reducing it to 10 houses. Stormwater management was approved; the family is now in the process of obtaining a building permit.

That case was the driver for a massive change to county zoning laws. The County Council ultimately approved zoning-targeted regulations that are more detailed than previously followed. In fact, the county went from having one line in the county code that regulated poultry farms to now having six pages.

For the entire year, the county’s residents appeared divided. Several public hearings were held in which people voiced fears about health effects.

County Executive Bob Culver even held a forum featuring state health officials; they were considered an impartial and regulatory-inclined group.

Still, many residents remained convinced that poultry farms have a negative impact on public health.

The issue is still bubbling. Elected leaders insist they remain sympathetic to those who believe proximity to chicken farms leads to health problems, such as asthma and lung cancer. But, the Maryland Department of the Environment oversees chicken farm runoff issues that could affect community health and state officials don’t want local jurisdictions interceding or duplicating resources. On health, it’s a state matter overall.

Superintendent Donna Hanlin

In March, Dr. Donna C. Hanlin was selected to succeed Dr. John E. Fredericksen as Superintendent of Wicomico County Public Schools.

In July, Hanlin officially took over and has mostly wowed school system employees, Board of Education members, parents and students.

Born and raised in Salisbury, Hanlin is a James M. Bennett High School graduate. She began her career as a classroom teacher in Wicomico County and assisted in the design of the elementary guidance program for the school system.

She served as Assistant Principal at Wicomico Middle and James M. Bennett High schools and as Principal of James M. Bennett High School before being promoted to Director of Secondary Education for the school system.

Then, after 26 years in Wicomico County schools, she moved to Hagerstown, Md., where she served as a Supervisor of Special Education, Director of Elementary Education and Assistant Superintendent.

Hanlin has thus far demonstrated a focus on developing challenging, innovative and personalized educational opportunities to serve the needs of a diverse student population.

She believes that the development of the whole child begins with a strong foundation in early childhood and continues when students learn to think critically, work together to solve problems, and explore interests.

A rally at Shorebirds Stadium in August was well-received and revealed her energy and enthusiasm.

Much to the relief of teachers, the new superintendent has made school safety top issue. But the administration was tested on its progress there with high-profile discipline issues in December at James M. Bennett High School.

Charter Amendments

With perhaps too-little fanfare, the County Council sprung a bevy of Charter Amendments on the voters in time for the November elections.

In all, nine referendum questions concerning the County Charter were listed along with the much anticipated measure on an elected school board.

The charter amendments could have been regarded as complicated and tricky. Making an informed decision should have required some homework, background, context and political insight.

Yet voters passed all nine by overwhelming margins.

The charter changes revealed some sharp divisions in the county’s executive and legislative branches. County Executive Bob Culver, for his part, called on voters to reject all of the amendments. Meanwhile, the County Council, which unanimously approved their inclusion on the ballot, made no apologies for bringing in the voters to help decide the innerworkings of county administration.

Culver viewed the measures as an attempt to undermine his authority — and old-fashioned political power grab. The council countered that it was merely taking the steps required to ensure checks and balances in county government.

Academic Commons

As the fall 2016 semester began at Salisbury University, the impressive new Patricia R. Guerrieri Academic Commons opened.

Rising four stories skyward and promising to be a state-of-the-art centerpiece for the campus and community, the $117 million structure was dedicated by Guerrieri family members and Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach, president of SU.

The 221,037-square-foot building is three times the size of the university’s modern Teacher Education and Technology Center. It houses the Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture.

Twelve classrooms are in GAC, 18 group study rooms and 418 seats in the assembly hall.

GAC has 32,000 square feet of green roof space, equal to half a football field, and is planted with a low ground cover, so that rain water that normally collects oils and sediment from rooftops is naturally filtered before falling to the ground and running into sewers.

The largest building in the history of the university, GAC will eventually have a carillon installed, with 48 bells weighing 27,655 pounds. The largest bells weighs 4,480 pounds, twice the size of the Liberty Bell.

The bells will replace those at Holloway Hall,  that now ring on the hour.

Barren Creek Road

After a July storm dumped 8 inches of rain in Mardela Springs, causing Barren Creek Road to wash out, residents clamored to have the County rebuild it.

They met with Sen. Addie Eckhard, who toured the area, and hosted a meeting on Oct. 12. About 140 people gathered at the Mardela Springs Fire Company for a session also attended by County officials and George Suggs, who owns the underlying creek bed property.

County Executive Bob Culver said the state wants the area to revert to its original state, with no road, but residents persistent.

“We’re going to keep pushing for it,” said David Kenney, who owns the local hardware store and who led the tour for Eckardt.

Kenney said the dam overflowed, causing the road to wash out, because the County’s Public Works department failed to open the floodgates quickly enough.

Months later, Culver released the county’s proposed Capital Improvement Plan and it included $500,000 to restore the road.

Maciarello becomes judge

Surrounded by his family and cherished mentors, Wicomico County State’s Attorney Matthew Maciarello was sworn in as Circuit Court judge on July 22.

At the investiture, Maciarello took a seat beside Judge Thomas Groton and other judges sitting on the bench in the Circuit Courthouse. They included Judges Jimmy Sarbanes, Danny Long, Kathleen Beckstead and Leah Seaton.

“I hope you know how deeply appreciative I am for your love, your support and your guidance. I will strive each and every day to prove myself worthy of your love and of your confidence,” Maciarello said.

He thanked his parents, sons and the lawyers who taught him, “fought me and challenged me” he said.

“I’m going to work very hard. I will also aspire … to treat people fairly and impartially,” he promised.

Maciarello was succeeded by Assistant State’s Attorney Ella Disharoon, who, at the investiture, called him “just a surfer boy at heart.”

Once sworn in, Disharoon named Attorney Patrizia Coletta deputy state’s attorney and said she would hire two new employees, to fill Coletta’s position and Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Joel Todd’s. Todd retired.

Entertainment boss named

Jamie Heater, 3rd Friday founder and coordinator, was hired as director of the Arts & Entertainment District in July.

The 33-year-old, who also organizes the annual New Year’s Eve ball drop, said she planned to “hit the ground running.”

“Having a full-time person dedicated to events and marketing will allow Downtown Salisbury to blossom. I can’t wait to get started,” said Heater, whose annual salary is in the $60,000 range.

She served on the Arts & Entertainment District Committee four years and was instrumental in the 2015 district expansion application. She earned a bachelor’s of science degree and master’s degree in business administration, both from Salisbury University.

Mayor Jake Day praised the Arts & Entertainment District Committee members for selecting Heater.

“By supporting sustainability in our cultural and arts scene, Downtown can continue its ascendancy as one of the premier small downtowns in America,” Day said.

City leadership changes

In November, it was announced City Administrator Tom Stevenson, former director of Neighborhood Services & Code Compliance, would move to Public Works and be named operations chief.

His position took effect on Dec. 5.

Assistant City Administrator Julia Glanz assumed Stevenson’s role. Mayor Jake Day said there would be a national search for a new city administrator. Glanz is expected to be a candidate.

Saying he was excited about the transition, Day said it was “something that Tom has sought and that (Public Works Director) Mike Moulds, Julia Glanz and I have supported, when the right time came.”

He called Stevenson “an incredible asset to our City” and praised Glanz for managing a variety of large projects.

Longtime City Service Center Director Howard Landon retired, allowing for the department reorganization. Moulds continued in his leadership role.

Creamer Retires

For the second time in just over a decade, Wicomico County government will be without Matt Creamer.

The bearded sage arrived here in May 1967, going to work in the county’s Planning Office. He eventually worked his way up to County Administrator, where — in a system where the council also served as the executive — he was “the man behind the curtain.”

With growing public desires for an elected County Executive, and following the Revenue Cap war of the early 2000s — Creamer retired in 2001.

Six years later, however, the County Council members asked him to return and serve as their administrator; he’s held that post for eight years.

Creamer’s last official day is Saturday. He plans to spend more time with his family and grandchildren, and improve his banjo-playing skills.

New Bennett Field

When a portion of it finally opened in the fall, Phase 3 of the James M. Bennett High School and Middle School project was the icing on a huge public schools cake.

Phase 1 was the construction of a new James M. Bennett High School and the razing of the old building. Phase 2 was construction of the new Bennett Middle School in Fruitland.

Phase 3 was the massive effort to clean everything up and make it right for the next 50 years: Tear down the old Bennett Middle, grade the field where the high school once stood and build an athletic complex worthy of the $74 million investment in the new high school.

The Phase 3 cost? Roughly $7.6 million, but the work is still obviously ongoing. A lot of that money was consumed in the Bennett Middle excavation and removal.

The public controversy that accompanied the high school’s price tag, then the middle school’s design and cost, then the effort by County Executive Bob Culver to preserve a portion of the old middle school for school board offices, finally faded.

The new track and football complex finally took their rightful place alongside all of the other fabulous, state-of-the art, beautifully maintained facilities at the “new,” nearly five-year home of the Clippers.

New SU stadium

Salisbury University’s $19 million Sea Gull Stadium threw open its doors to the public in August.

“For years, SU has boasted championship teams and athletes. They now have a championship stadium,” said SU President Janet Dudley-Eshbach. “We hope this beautiful addition to the University’s growing athletics complex will become a second home to sports aficionados throughout the region.

“The facility was constructed with non-state dollars, and we are grateful for the support of donors, students and fans.  Come cheer on our lacrosse, football and field hockey teams as they play in a new stadium worthy of their talents,” she said.

The open house was the first viewing of the 30,000-square-foot, four-story building.  Teams have not yet moved in, and this was the first time the locker rooms, media center and athletic training clinic were accessible to the general public.

Jim Berkman, SU men’s lacrosse coach, said the facility will allow SU to stand among the best schools in the region.

“Men’s lacrosse has succeeded here; in fact, all four of the teams that play in the stadium have been incredibly successful,” he said. “We think this facility will help us take our individual programs and Salisbury athletics to the next level.”

West Salisbury planning begins

West Salisbury Elementary School closed in June to prepare for construction of a replacement school.

With reopening planned for August 2018, in late September the project construction funding sign was installed on the site, signaling that the process of building a new $28 million West Salisbury Elementary is well under way.

The project is on schedule, with visible signs of construction expected after bids are received. Right now the school system is making final preparations for water and sewer connections with the City of Salisbury, and preparations for abatement activities which all have to occur before the existing building can be demolished.

City Lots sold

Some city-owned commercial lots, long planned as sites for Downtown development, are at last being sold to construction companies with some high hopes.

The Salisbury City Council awarded a bid for Lot 10, which faces North Salisbury Boulevard at the very center of town, to Salisbury Development Group LLC. A modern, urban, residential and commercial development will be built on the 2.8-acre parcel, which is now a parking lot behind the State’s Attorney’s Office.

“It will be a true mixed-use development with apartments and retail and commercial down low and an area for some professional office space,” Keith Fisher, architect for the project, told the Salisbury Independent this week. Planned are 250 one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units and a 20,000-square-foot commercial area.

Over on the Wicomico River, groundbreaking is expected by mid-2017 on Marina Landing, a multimillion-dollar residential and commercial complex spread over 5 acres near Salisbury’s marina.

“It’s going to change the whole landscape of the river,” said developer David Perlmutter, with Salisbury Development Group.

The mixed-use project will have retail on the ground floor of a building with a 15,000-square-foot footprint. The five- or six-story structure will feature one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments in towers.

“It will be right there at the marina. The apartments will have access to the docks. People can rent the docks there. We will also be building a boathouse with some retail there, too, like a crew boathouse,” Perlmutter said.

Meanwhile, the city closed on Lot 1, where a truly monumental project is being planned for Downtown Salisbury.

Brad Gillis and Joey Gilkerson, as part of their Devreco real estate development business, have won the right to construct a massive collection of retail, housing, business and parking complex on the large, 3.5-acre city parking lot in the center of town.

To be situated on Parking Lots No. 1 and No. 11, the development plan will cost millions of dollars to bring to fruition.

River View Commons

The past year saw the opening of a remarkable building that blends the city’s past and future.

River View Commonsfaces busy Mill Street and is yet another architectural landmark renovation in the Gillis Gilkerson contractors gallery book.

The developers are known for taking chances and venturing into products no other business would ever touch. And River View Commons would have to be regarded as their most-visible high wire act in years.

The renovation which took nearly three years has served as fodder for plenty of community conversation. With Mill Street ranked as the third-busiest thoroughfare in the city, the project has a lot of eyeballs on it each day. Some people have declared it the current symbol of Salisbury’s rebirth.

The 20,000-square-foot building is nearly 100 percent leased, said Gillis, “so it’s going really well.” Tenants on the bottom floor with street access include Acorn Market and Angello’s Unique Gifts. Stockbrokers Morgan Stanley have taken an entire floor of the building; Gillis Gilkerson itself will be moving in as well.

The longtime site of the former Feldman’s Furniture, Gillis Gilkerson tore away about 60,000 square feet of unusable structure, and concentrated on rebuilding the main historical building. An elevator and access wing with stair towers was added to the north side. The roof was replaced and the 125-year-old walls were reinforced.

When it was built in 1888, the building was originally a two-story warehouse. It was the location of wholesale grocer B.L. Gillis, the now-developer’s uncle from five generations back.

The property is owned by River View Commons LLC, whose principals include Gillis, Gillis Gilkerson President Dwight Miller, Palmer Gillis and J.B. Barnes.

Becker Morgan, whose offices are directly across the street, provided the architectural services during the design phase of the renovation; Gillis’ son, Brad Gillis of Sperry Van Ness and Devreco has been the overseer of the leasing efforts.

Courthouse lightning

A lightning strike that damaged the clock tower atop the Wicomico County Circuit Courthouse in July expedited restoration work already planned for the historic structure.

Contractors are restoring the casements that secure the clocks in the Courthouse tower, replacing the glass coverings, replacing deteriorated boards, scraping and repainting.

Pieces of the slate roof fell to the ground during the storm. Unlike the movie “Back To The Future,” the clock in the tower continues to tick.

The County Council proposed $750,000 phased over Fiscal Years 2016-18 for restoration and repairs. They will include replacing the roof and gutters, reinforcing the upper floor structure and bell tower, repairing masonry and painting.

Built in 1878, the Courthouse is recognized as an historical building by  Maryland the Downtown Historical District. In 1886, it survived a devastating fire.

Elected school board

On Election Day, voters said they wanted a fully elected Board of Education.

In the past, school board members have been appointed by the governor. But, by referendum vote, nearly 51 percent of Wicomico’s 36,451 voters selected Option 2 on the ballot, deciding to switch to an elected school board.

The other choices called for continuing to have the governor appoint members, or forming a hybrid board, with some elected and some appointed. Each option received about 25 percent of the vote.

Newly elected members will be sworn in on Dec. 2, 2018, and serve four-year terms that coincide with the County Council’s terms. Two of the seven candidates will run at large and the other five will represent their home districts.

PRMC Opens Breast Center

The Peninsula Regional Health System officially dedicated its new Peninsula Breast Center on Snow Hill Road in Salisbury.

The center will provide women the most comprehensive breast health services on Delmarva with care plans individualized for each woman. The staff believes in a team approach, and will offer 3D mammography, biopsies, physician consultations and surgical services all in a single location.

“As part of our strategic plan and after hearing the wishes of women in our community, we discovered that there was a desire to bring both breast cancer screening and breast cancer therapy into one consolidated program,” said Dr. Thomas DeMarco, Medical Director of the Richard A. Henson Cancer Institute at PRMC.  “By doing this, we’re able to provide women with a comprehensive program under the same roof.”

SU buys Court Plaza, Temple Hill

The ever-growing Salisbury University has acquired valuable land that will allow it to expand even more.

The Salisbury University Foundation’s Board of Directors in November approved the purchase of some 8.5 acres south of main campus on Route 13. The properties include the Court Plaza Shopping Center, home to several businesses; the former Temple Hill Motel, which is currently boarded up and closed; and 307 Kay Ave., a commercial office building also in use.

The purchase price was $6 million.

This will bolster the campus footprint to its largest size to date — more than 200 acres.

According to SU Foundation officials, Court Plaza will remain in operation. All existing leases will be honored and other businesses will be encouraged to locate there.

Leases in the Kay Avenue property also will continue. The Temple Hill buildings will be demolished.

No decision on future SU use of the properties has been made.

The seller is Delcon International. Settlement is expected in early 2017.

Delcon, a Chinese investment company registered in Delaware, purchased Court Plaza in July 2014 for $4.1 million. The Temple Hill property was purchased for an additional $2.15 million.

Wor-Wic Scholarship Plan

In February, County Executive Bob Culver proposed the county pay tuition costs for any high school graduate who wanted to attend Wor-Wic Community College.

Called the Wicomico Economic Impact Scholarship, the initiative would cover tuition and fees — but not books and supplies — for eligible high school graduates. It would cost the county $665,000 annually and, during three years, an estimated $1.46 million.

Other stipulations applied, including requiring students to maintain a 2.0 grade point average or higher.

During discussion between Culver and County Council members, disagreements ensued, tempers flared and changes were made, including setting an annual income limit for families who would receive free tuition and establishing a fund at the Community Foundation.

In July, everyone was smiling when Culver, County Council President John Cannon, Wor-Wic President Ray Hoy, President of the Community Foundation Erica Joseph and other officials gathered in the Allied Health Building at Wor-Wic to celebrate the Council’s approval.

By late summer there would be some rising tensions over moving the money for the program, but officials were eventually able to reach an agreement.

Dogs rescued

In April, the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office rescued more than 300 dogs, most Pomeranians, in deplorable conditions from a home in Eden.

The community responded by donating mounds of toys, food, puppy pads, treats and detergents to the Wicomico County Humane Society.

Deputies conducted an investigation of the home, in the 5000 block of Cooper Road and found 100 dogs in the house and another 210 in a building outdoors. All 310 were removed and taken to humane societies in Wicomico, Somerset and Worcester counties.

In July, it was announced the owners, Susan Marie Murphy, 67, and Robert Holliday Murphy, 60, were charged with 84 counts of animal cruelty, inflicting pain and suffering and not providing medical care or proper food.

Sheriff Mike Lewis said the two could end up behind bars for two decades.

Civic Center alcohol

In March, Senate Bill 1140 and House Bill 1521 were heard, in hopes that the  Wicomico Youth & Civic Center could apply for a liquor license, allowing beer, wine and liquor to be sold at events.

The bills passed, pleasing County Executive Bob Culver, who poured the first drink before a concert in November.

Alcohol won’t be available for all events, especially those geared toward children, and there is a no-alcohol seating section, Culver said.

The alcohol restriction dates back to S. Franklyn Woodcock, who donated land where the Civic Center was built and stipulated no alcoholic beverages could be dispensed. But Culver said the land was for a ball field, not a popular county venue for concerts and sporting events.

In today’s culture, major entertainers and sports teams – including hockey — refuse to contract where alcohol isn’t allowed, and that is causing considerable revenue loss, Culver said.

Wor-Wic Roundabout

In late summer, a new roundabout, at Walston Switch Road and Route 50, near Wor-Wic Community College and Royal Farms, opened.

The roundabout was required by the city’s zoning department and was paid for by Royal Farms, said Lee Outen, roads superintendent for the county.

County officials maintain it.

Outen said he didn’t know the cost to build the roundabout and Olivia Klock, who handles public relations for Royal Farms, said the company wouldn’t release the cost.

The circular intersection directs drivers to travel counterclockwise around a center island with no traffic signals or stop signs. Drivers yield to traffic as they attempt to enter.

“It’s part of the design of Royal Farms. It was built by a private contractor that Royal Farms is paying,” Outen said.

He explained the developer was responsible for infrastructure, at no cost to the city or county.

Downtown Streetscape

In June, Mayor Jake Day pronounced the city’s multimillion-dollar Streetscape Downtown Improvement Plan “on schedule.”

Work began that month on the project, which Day described as “rolling out the red carpet to make our town even better.”

Highlights include putting pavers in a strip along the sidewalk and new sidewalks from the intersection of Main and Division streets, improving the grounds at the Government Office Building, the completed Riverwalk, plans for an amphitheater on the river, a kayak marina and better crosswalks.

Downtown flooding would also be addressed, Day said.

“We’ve got only ourselves to kick for having developed part of our downtown on what was the bottom of a lake. We’ve got to deal with it. We’ve got to address it. We’ve got a responsibility as a community to address these things. It’s at the center of our community and it’s incumbent upon us to get this right,” Day said.

By winter, however, work had stalled while the city and its contractors removed some contaminated soil found under the street bed.

Wor-Wic Trees

An 18-month project to install some 270 individual geothermal wells that will provide HVAC heating and cooling water to two Wor-Wic Community College buildings resulted in a dramatic change to the college’s entrance way.

The critically needed Geothermal Project for Maner Technology Center and Brunkhorst resulted in hundreds of pine trees being removed from the northwest front of the college.

For years, the college had had a screen of primarily pine trees positioned between the buildings and Walston Switch Road. Both the tree removal and overall project have Maryland Department of the Environment approval.

Civic Center seats

A substantial facility improvement plan has been under way nearly all year at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center.

The $3.4 million renovation project is expected to be completed in early 2017. The renovations will include new seating in the Normandy Arena, along with a new paint scheme, new hand rails, and polish and sealing the floors.

In the public areas of the center, which includes the hallways and the meeting rooms, renovations will include new ceiling systems, new flooring, new paint schemes, new lighting fixtures, and upgrades to the building’s internal network that serves computers, digital signage and cameras.

As the project to renovate the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center progresses, County Executive Bob Culver thanked county staff for saving taxpayers more than $53,000 on just one project, by capitalizing on county employee expertise and inmate labor from the Wicomico County Department of Corrections.

Part of the project to renovate and upgrade the Civic Center involved adding electric to the lower seating sections in the Normandy Arena so they could be pulled out or retracted, in a timelier manner. What once took six staff members almost eight hours now will take two staffers only about two hours.

The project to overhaul the seating sections was estimated to cost almost $65,000, but county officials decided the job could be done in house for much less.

Fire Station 2 opens

Mayor Jake Day and Salisbury Fire Chief Rick Hoppes joined prominent local officials and firefighters on Nov. 5 for the  the dedication ceremony for the new Fire Station 2.

The new facility replaces a building which was a landmark on the city’s East Side.  Dedicated in 1930, the old Station 2 served as the Salisbury Fire Department’s East Side base of operations for over 80 years.

In recent years, however, it had become less-than-fit by modern standards.  In the summer of 2014, the city broke ground on the new facility, across Brown Street.  In September, the old Station 2 was demolished.

The beautiful new building which now stands at the corner of Brown and Naylor streets remains a focal point for the neighborhood and its citizens.  Keeping a fire station in this location was not only important to the neighborhood, but also to the operations of the Salisbury Fire Department.

The new facility provides SFD members and employees with a state-of-the-art, full-service fire station which meets today’s demands for full-time habitation and a rapid response to emergencies.

Rudasill joins council

With District 5 City Councilwoman Laura Mitchell departing town, the Salisbury City Council formally selected a high-ranking University of Maryland Eastern Shore official to fill her post.

Hardy Rudasill, 38, was chosen after a closed-session interview process that included two other contenders, Ray Sander and Hsin Cheu. After the interviews, council members ranked the candidates and made their final selection in a unanimous public vote.

Rudasill was immediately sworn in by Wicomico Clerk of the Circuit Court Mark Bowen. He took a seat at the council dais previously occupied by Councilman Muir Boda, who was elected vice president by his colleagues and moved to Mitchell’s old seat.

Rudasill is the first African American male to ever serve on the City Council. He joins Councilwoman April Jackson as the second African-American currently serving on the council.

Riverwalk  progresses

An upgrade in 2016 to the Riverwalk that encircles the Wicomico provided an inviting fresh air centerpiece in the heart of Downtown Salisbury.

Costing $1.7 million, the project includes a new storm drain outfall, resurfacing the walkway and adding attractive handrails. Later, there will be enhancing foliage and lighting.

Work to overhaul the Riverwalk has involved removing the surface and inserting 20-foot anchoring rods to stabilize the bulkhead.

An attractive stamped concrete that resembles gray, weathered boards is replacing the former surface of aggregate concrete. The pattern is continued at the newly refurbished Riverview Commons, formerly the old Feldman building.

Barren Creek Road

After a July storm dumped 8 inches of rain in Mardela Springs, causing Barren Creek Road to wash out, residents clamored to have the County rebuild it.

They met with Sen. Addie Eckhard, who toured the area, and hosted a meeting on Oct. 12. About 140 people gathered at the Mardela Springs Fire Company for a session also attended by County officials and George Suggs, who owns the underlying creek bed property.

County Executive Bob Culver said the state wants the area to revert to its original state, with no road, but residents persistent.

“We’re going to keep pushing for it,” said David Kenney, who owns the local hardware store and who led the tour for Eckardt.

Kenney said the dam overflowed, causing the road to wash out, because the County’s Public Works department failed to open the floodgates quickly enough.

Months later, Culver released the county’s proposed Capital Improvement Plan and it included $500,000 to restore the road.

Hazel Youth Center

In June, when word spread that the Salvation Army’s Richard Hazel Youth Center was in jeopardy of closing, due to financial shortages, the Hazel’s Haven Committee was formed, at the direction of Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes.

The committee, she said, would explore ways to solve the center’s financial woes, so the west side center could remain open.

Local Salvation Army Major Vic Tidman wasn’t specific with figures, but said the local office owed $800,000 to the national organization.

However, in a July 26 news release, Major Gene Hogg issued a news release stating there were no plans to close the youth center.

Hogg said the center has met the needs of thousands of youth during the past 15 years, was underfunded, would welcome donations, but was not in danger of closing.

Sample-Hughes later said she remained concerned about Salvation Army finances, and that a sub-committee would raise money selling chicken dinners at the county fair in August, and donate proceeds to the youth center.


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